5 Ingredients or Fewer

Breakfast Pasta

August 24, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Julia Gartland, prop styling by Gerri Williams, food styling by Kate Buckens
Author Notes

I don’t know who came up with the wildly inaccurate name for “morning sickness” because if you’ve ever experienced it, you know that it isn't relegated to just the early hours of the day. That special feeling can wash over you at any hour of the day and typically spans the months that make up the first trimester. Ask any mom who has suffered, and she’ll tell you it feels like a horrible hangover, made worse by the fact that you didn't get to have the fun the night before. A big part of it is the need to always have food in your stomach to avoid nausea, but at the same time, nothing seems remotely appealing to you. Vegetables? No, thank you!

As a food stylist and recipe developer, food is all I ever think about, and having the pleasure of eating taken away from me makes the debilitating morning sickness I’ve had just that much worse. This pregnancy I also have a toddler to chase after, which adds a new level of physicality. It’s been three months of Ritz crackers, buttered toast, bagels, and ginger ale. It sounds kind of fun at first to just eat carbs and butter, but the indulgence wears off pretty quickly. And you’re just wishing that you could even bring yourself to drink a fruit smoothie or fully enjoy sugar snap pea season.

I started making this pasta out of sheer necessity. It was appealing to me at the time, it filled me up, cooked quickly, and I always had the ingredients on hand. I started calling it “Breakfast Pasta” because it’s what I’d eat for breakfast and it features an egg. But it had plenty of appearances at lunchtime and dinnertime. A big bonus is my 14-month-old loves it too, so two birds, one pasta. It starts by boiling really well salted water and cooking any shape of cut pasta. Not too al dente because we’re going for comfort here and a toddler. You drain the pasta, melt butter in the still warm pot, add the pasta back in, and toss. Then comes the sustenance and nutrition, the egg. You crack an egg into the still hot pasta and toss vigorously, the way you would when making carbonara. If the pasta was not hot enough, and the egg looked too soupy, I’d turn the burner on low to cook the egg a bit more. When you’re pregnant, they say you shouldn't eat any raw egg. In the beginning, I finished the pasta with classic freshly cracked black pepper, but it evolved into a sprinkling of everything bagel spice, which really makes this dish special.

Pregnant or not, this super-quick pasta will become your replacement for a box of mac and cheese. It’s got that satisfaction level you want and is easy enough to make when you’re feeling under the weather. —Olivia Mack McCool

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1 plus a toddler
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 heaping cup dry short cut pasta (like shells or elbows)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon everything bagel spice
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Cook the pasta for 8 to 9 minutes, until cooked through (we like it a little past al dente for the comfort food factor).
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the pasta. Add the butter to the still hot pot, then add the drained pasta on top and toss until the butter is mostly melted.
  3. Crack the egg right into the pasta. Working quickly, stir vigorously—the egg will cook from the heat of the pasta and create a glossy sauce. If your pasta has lost too much heat and the egg still looks raw, simply cook over low heat and continue to stir until the egg has cooked a tiny bit more.
  4. Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with the everything bagel spice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Olivia Mack McCool
    Olivia Mack McCool
  • Heather Grant Lindsley
    Heather Grant Lindsley
  • kantcould
  • susielou

6 Reviews

kantcould September 5, 2021
what the hell is "everything bagel" spice?
Author Comment
Olivia M. September 6, 2021
It’s a blend of dried garlic, dried Onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt. You can find it at some grocery stores. Costco, Trader Joe’s both have it. It’s all the spices that they sprinkle on top of an everything bagel at a bagel shop. You could also ask your local bagel shop to sell you some. It’s very very tasty. Especially if you enjoy Everything Bagels.
Heather G. September 19, 2021
happiness in a jar :)
Author Comment
Olivia M. September 19, 2021
I would TOTALLY agree with that!
susielou September 2, 2021
Mac and Cheese with a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper is one of my go-to breakfasts.
abbas_muna September 1, 2021